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believe in me the way you do

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It was no secret Viktor was forgetful: from names (for example, that Canadian skater … Joe?), faces (in his defence, before he had gotten to know Yuuri he’d only seen him with his hair slicked back, glasses off, in a skating costume), and birthdays (he’d forget his own if it didn’t happen to be a national holiday across the world), he’d forget them all given half a chance. Viktor was perfectly aware that his memory was extremely selective, and in order to avoid forgetting anything worth remembering he made sure to only focus on important matters. The news did not, unfortunately, fit that definition in his mind.

This all meant that, if it wasn’t on his twitter feed, he didn’t know about it. He managed to keep up to date with what his friends were up to and what his fans were thinking, while the only news account he followed was a skating-orientated one. Mila had told him once how weird it was that she, a teenager, knew more about the world than he did. Viktor had laughed and flippantly replied that if it’s important enough, I have you to tell me! She had wrinkled her nose at him.

However, he had become more aware since Yuuri moved into his apartment in St Petersburg. While studying in America, Yuuri had got into the habit of debating topical subjects that Viktor had been completely oblivious to with his class-mates. He hadn’t quite got Viktor into watching it daily yet, but Viktor loved listening to Yuuri’s opinions—especially when he got really passionate about something: his cheeks would flush, his voice would raise louder than what was usually considered polite, and he’d use his hands to emphasise his points. It was adorable, and certainly a strong motivator to pay more attention to current events, even if he wasn’t particularly interested in them.

Still, despite his improvements, it was a surprise to the both of them that he found out about it first.

Viktor had woken up early the day it was announced. Glancing at his alarm and figuring there was no point trying to go back to sleep again, he extracted himself from Yuuri’s sleeping form with the intention to surprise him with breakfast in bed.

Makkachin was already up when he entered the kitchen, as she definitely wasn’t complaining about being fed slightly earlier. He chuckled and scratched the back of her head as she wolfed down her food, before starting to go through the motions of preparing breakfast.

Not wanting to work in silence, Viktor switched on the TV but kept the volume down—the muted Russian wouldn’t be enough to wake Yuuri. He wasn’t sure what channel it was on, but Makkachin made herself comfortable on the sofa in order to gaze at the screen.

As he was focused on making tea for Yuuri at the same time as his own coffee, he almost missed the announcement.

“—the International Olympic Committee has decided to ban Russia from competing in the Winter Olympics—” a serious-sounding voice spoke. Alarmed, Viktor looked up at the TV, barely avoiding splashing boiling coffee on his hand.

A news programme was playing. The headline running across the screen confirmed what he had heard. He had obviously known Russia hadn’t been allowed to participate at Brazil, but he had assumed that the Winter Olympics would be different. He’d never even considered the possibility that—that—

Breakfast abandoned, he rushed back to the bedroom and shook Yuuri awake.

“Viktor … what …?” Yuuri blinked sleepily at him for a moment, but he must have seen something in Vikor’s face, as he sat up suddenly and put his glasses on.

“What happened?” Yuuri asked, gripping Viktor’s tense shoulders.

“I—they’ve banned Russia from competing in Pyeongchang,” he breathed out shakily. “I can’t go.”

Yuuri’s eyes widened and jaw dropped. The smaller man tugged Viktor into his chest, wrapping his arms around him.

“It’s going to be okay …” Yuuri reassured him, “they’d never stop you from attending.”

Viktor knew Yuuri had no way of knowing that for sure, but his husband’s unquestioning belief in him was a source of comfort at least.

Their embrace was interrupted by the buzzing of Viktor’s phone from the bed-side table. Yuuri leant away from him and answered it for him, not looking away from Viktor’s face.

“Hello? … Yes, it’s Yuuri … mhm … yes, he’s here, do you want to—?” Yuuri held the phone out to him, looking anxious. “It’s Yakov.”

Viktor took the phone cautiously, unsure of what his coach was going to say—what his coach could say. “Hi, Yakov.”

“What do you know about the Olympics?” Straight to the point, then. Yakov was stressed on a normal day, to put it politely; Viktor couldn’t even begin to imagine what his coach was feeling now.

“I know they’ve banned Russians from competing,” Viktor spat. Yuuri patted his leg sympathetically.

“Luckily for us that’s not quite true,” Yakov replied. “They’re allowing athletes to compete independently, if they can prove they’re clean—but there will be no flags, no anthems and no uniforms.”

Viktor didn’t know what to say to that. The Olympics had always been a time of great national pride for him; representing Russia as a team of athletes, and not just as himself, was an amazing feeling that couldn’t be replicated anywhere else. To take that aspect of it away, the Olympics would lose its magic for him, especially considering it would be his last one.

“Thanks for calling, Yakov. I’ll get back to you. I need some time to think about all this.” He hung up before Yakov could reply, only feeling slightly guilty.

“What did he say?” Yuuri asked. His serious expression contrasted comedically with his rather impressive bed-head.

“The Olympics Committee is still allowing athletes to compete, but not underneath the Russian flag,” he explained, sneering at the idea of it.

Yuuri’s expression darkened. “So, it’s not just about the drugs; it’s about the country too.”

Viktor nodded sombrely. A glance at his phone screen proved that his Twitter feed was bursting with fans asking his opinion, what he planned to do, as was he going to be okay. Viktor wished he could answer them.

“What do I do, Yuuri? This is …” Viktor couldn’t even finish his thought.

Yuuri pulled him back into his arms, before laying back into bed, dragging Viktor down with him. Twisting away from Viktor, he patted the covers, and Makkachin, who must have followed him into the bedroom, jumped up eagerly and positioned herself between the two men.

“You don’t have to do anything right now, Vitya,” Yuuri said once they had all settled down. “This morning, we will stay inside and ignore the world: later, we’ll figure out how to get you to the Olympics, together.”

Viktor smiled despite himself. “You’re too good to me.”

Yuuri intertwined their fingers. “You’d do exactly the same for me.”

 

-

 

Viktor must have dosed off at some point, because he was woken by the smell of cooking food and the buzzing of his phone again. While Makkachin was comfortably nestled under his arm, Yuuri was nowhere to be seen, which explained the smell of food. Torn between the desire to help Yuuri and the urge to wallow in self-pity for a while, Viktor decided to check his phone first before getting up.

In between the hordes of twitter updates, he saw that many of his and Yuuri’s friends had reached out to him to offer their sympathy and support; he’d be sure to respond to them later. There was one person that he wasn’t surprised to see had texted him the most. Bracing himself, he opened the messages.

Yurio: oi

Yurio: viktor

Yurio: have you heard

Yurio: reply to me you dickhead

Yurio: the fuck are we supposed to do

Yurio: yakov said we can still go

Yurio: this is bullshit

Viktor snorted to himself, causing Makkachin to jump slightly. It was good to see that Yuri hadn’t let this take away his spirit in any way.

Viktor: hi yurio

Yurio: yknow what, im going to ignore that ONCE

Yurio: what r u going to do??

Viktor: ill let u know when i know

Yurio: ugh ur useless

Viktor: you wound me

Viktor: yuuri and i are gonna figure it out later

Yurio: well, great for u

Yurio: at least i know i look good in white, which is what theyre gonna force us into

Viktor: Yurio the Angel

Yurio: okay i am DONE with this convo

Yurio: bye loser

Viktor: <3 <3 <3

Viktor shut his phone’s screen down, then sat up and stretched, much to Makkachin’s displeasure.

“C’mon girl,” he encouraged, swinging his legs out of bed. “Let’s go see what Yuuri’s doing.”

Makkachin rushed ahead, tail wagging furiously, while Viktor followed slowly down the hall. He heard Yuuri greet Makkachin cheerfully, before turning into the kitchen and seeing Yuuri in the middle of preparing breakfast.

“Hey, Viktor,” Yuuri smiled. “I figured today we needed something more substantial than toast for breakfast.”

Viktor wrapped his arms around Yuuri’s stomach from behind, leaning down to rest his chin on Yuuri’s shoulder.

“How are you so perfect?” He questioned into the side of Yuuri’s neck.

Yuuri blushed as he always did at compliments, but thankfully he no longer froze up at them like he used too.

“I’m not,” he protested. “I just hate seeing you like this.”

Viktor sighed. “And I hate that my last Olympics will be ruined.”

Yuuri turned around so he was leaning back against the counter with Viktor pressed against him. Unlike the last time they had been in a similar position, there was nothing sexual about the situation.

“Viktor … Why is this so important to you? Why does it hurt so much?” Yuuri questioned earnestly.

“The last Olympics were so special … Sochi was where I first fell in love with you,” Viktor held Yuuri’s face in his hands. “Now I can’t help but feel that it won’t be the same.”

“Viktor, it was never going to be the same,” Yuuri smiled. “So much has changed since then: you became my coach, we moved in together, your hairline receded some more …”

“Hey!” Viktor objected.

“… And, most importantly, we got married,” Yuuri grinned beautifully. “Viktor, I know you’re disappointed that you can’t represent Russia—I’d feel exactly the same in your position. But I think you’re forgetting that you’re not just a Russian citizen: you’re a Japanese one too. I know it won’t be the same, but I personally think our uniforms would look great on you.”

Viktor was hit with a sudden wave of pure adoration for the man in front of him. He’d been so focussed on what he wasn’t allowed to do, he’d forgotten what he could do. He didn’t consider himself to be Japanese, but he certainly was Yuuri’s husband—if a perk of that just so happened to be that he wouldn’t have to go to Pyeongchang and (presumably) win a medal, only to stand underneath a false flag, he would happily take advantage.

“My Yuuri is a genius!” Viktor whooped, lifting a protesting Yuuri up in the air and spinning him around.

When Makkachin started circling around them, jumping up and barking, causing the two of them to descend into what can only be described as giggles, he knew it was going to be okay.

 

-

 

Calls were made, JSF officials were bargained with, and paperwork was dutifully filled out. Yakov, when informed of their plan, yelled for a solid half an hour about how Viktor was a selfish imbecile. Viktor was reminded of a time soon after he and Yuuri got married, when some fans had complained about the fact Yuuri’s GPF Gold went to Japan, instead of Russia where he lived and trained. Ridiculous. Viktor was reassured that, no matter what happened, people would be surprised.

 

-

 

Viktor N-K @v-nikiforov

Looking forward to representing Japan at the Pyeongchang Olympics alongside my amazing husband @katsukiyuuri !! <3

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